Letters

'Was it the sheer number of signatures on petitions that saved Bart's in the end?'

(Monitor, 23 April). No, it was not. The absolute closure of Bart's has been kept at bay because health secretary Frank Dobson recognised the folly of destroying a centre of medical international renown 'most of whose buildings are in excellent nick and provide an excellent service. We think that the decision (to accept the Turnberg recommendation for Bart's) makes financial sense - and every other sort of sense' (Hansard , 3 February).

The petition had no effect. All opposition to the closure was ignored, as were the 97 per cent of respondents to the health authority consultation; a sorry reflection on democracy which has led to the acceptance of the petition for scrutiny by the petitions committee of the European Parliament. Those who are now anxiously signing the petition to reopen Bart's accident and emergency department hope this time such signatures will be respected.

Wendy Mead, Chair, Save Bart's Campaign; member, Court of Common Council, Corporation of London; member, City and Hackney CHC.